Thursday, September 23, 2010

Over the Moon over Moon Cakes!

This Mid-Autumn Festival saw me tasting mooncakes in 3 countries besides those in Malaysia. I was away in Vietnam, China and Thailand within a month's period.

Bought Kinh Do company's mooncake in Thai Nguyen city and gobbled them up at our homestay house in Ba Be Lake of Bac Kan province.

Scans from Kinh Do's mooncake catalogue. Prices in Vietnamese Dong.

Try translating the catalogue ? Many Vietnamese words are phonetically similar to Chinese;
eg Lap Xuong = Lap Cheong = Sausage, Dau Xanh = Tau Sa = Red Bean
Try this online dictionary

The article on the culture of giving mooncakes in Vietnam as published in The Star daily.

Stopped over in Nanning, the capital of Guangxi Province and managed to sample some mooncakes. Below are the pages from the mooncake catalogue.

Grabbed this mooncake in Surat Thani, before hopping on the ferry to Samui island. Mooncake came from Bangkok.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How exotic can you get ?.... the Mursi people

I had a chat with my friend Teoh about the many exotic ethnic minorities found in Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and China, like the Long Neck Karens, Red Dzaos, Flower Hmongs, Wa (former headhunters!) and etc. Being a seasoned traveller, Teoh said he know of one exotic people from Africa that tops the 'exotic' scale and sent me the photo below......

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Myanmar is having their 'elections' on Nov 7, 2010, after a long lapse of tweeeennnnnty years (20 yrs). With a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the country, as much as I love to visit this beautiful country again, I will postphone travel until the 'elections' are long over.....

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cabbages & Condoms, Wiang Pa Pao, Chiang Rai

Seriously... there's nothing hanky-panky about Cabbages & Condoms, even though the name may suggest otherwise...

It's a restaurant chain operated by PDA (Population and Community Development Association of Thailand), an NGO whose main objective is to promote family planning in Thailand, besides eradication of poverty. The chairman and founder, Mechai Viravaidya, contends that “birth control should be as accessible and as easy to buy as vegetables in the market!” Hence the name “Cabbages & Condoms.”

The main outlet in Bangkok has displays of various condoms, informational yet humourous posters regarding contraception and related souvenirs for sale. After dining there, instead of being given after-dinner mints, you are given packets of condoms. There are other outlets located in various parts of Thailand.

The photos below are of the Wiang Pa Pao outlet (in Chiang Rai), located about halfway between Chiang Mai city and Chiang Rai city. Besides a restaurant, it has accommodation available for rental in form of cottages and a shop selling souvenirs & local food products. Our tour groups stopped here for lunch and coffee break.

You will like their slogan, "Our food is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy"

For more info, visit

Really eye-catching signage here....

... a intentional pun at the Golden Triangle which is not too far away...

Accommodation available....

Dinning area of restaurant with an adjacent fish pond

The T-Shirt worn by the restaurant staff is perfectly themed, except for the mis-spelt "Safe"....

Our tour group waiting for lunch to be served...

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Beer Prayer

Another 'email forwards' from a friend

Happily Married Life ??

Another great one forwarded by a friend....
(click on image to enlarge...)

Coffee Series (Part 1) - Roasting Coffee in Nha Trang, Vietnam

I chanced upon these folks roasting coffee beside a seaside cafe in Nha Trang, the top beach resort city of Vietnam. With the coffee beans of the Vietnam Central Highlands just 3 hours plus away by road, this is coffee as fresh as you can get at a seaside cafe!

Load in the coffee beans.

Get the fire started!

Spin the roasting cylinder for an even roast.

It's done! Open the shutter... careful, it's hot!

Pour them out.

Divide out the coffee to right amount....

...add sugar

and stir...

Now, you can try this at home but I doubt you get the same aromatic flavour ....ha.. ha..

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Facebook info

You got to click on the factsheet below to enlarge.

Travel Agent Consultation Fees ??

Received the cartoon below from a fellow travel agent.... made me think... should travel agents be charging consultation fees ?? .... after all the doctor, the lawyer, the trust fund manager, etc. charges consultation fees ...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Red Land, Dongchuan, Yunnan, China

This set of photos was circulated on cyberspace and had me mesmerized. Whoever the photographer is, he/she definitely captured many defining moments on film! I just had to upload the photos onto my blog for keepsake.

The following is the text accompanying the photos, summarized for brevity:

"Red Land is located in Dongchuan district, north of Kunming. It is around 2600 ft. above sea level and a remote area with poor public transport service. The extra-ordinary reddish brown soil is a result of oxidized iron and various other oxidized metallic minerals. Dongchuan Red Land represents Yunnan mountain valley's most attractive colors. Crops on Red Land include potatoes, oats, corn, oil flower vegetables, etc. Because each family owns different sizes and shapes of land and each family plants their own preference of crops, this beautiful tableau is produced. During harvest time, the soil is turned over thus exposing this unusual red color.
Different seasons, different times and different intensities of sunlight produce different colors.

In September, white-colored oil flowers are in bloom on the whole mountain. It is a pity they cover up the beautiful red color. The best time for sightseeing tour is middle of November. The most dazzling color is just before the sun sets. Later, in order to promote tourism, Red Land was named Lexiaguo, meaning --- the place where beautiful colors set."

Since the commentary states that November is the best time to visit, I will be going there this November and come back, hopefully, with images laced with autumnal hue for comparison.

Care to join me ? The trip to Red Land from Kunming and back will be of 3 days (Nov 14-16, 2010) Drop me a note at for the details.